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Green Card for a Cuban Native or Citizen

The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1996 (CAA) provides for a special procedure under which Cuban natives or citizens and their accompanying spouses and children may get a green card (permanent residence). The CAA gives the Attorney General the discretion to grant permanent residence to Cuban natives or citizens applying for a green card if:

  • They have been present in the United States for at least 1 year
  • They have been admitted or paroled
  • They are admissible as immigrants

Their applications for a green card (permanent residence) may be approved even if they do not meet the ordinary requirements under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Since the caps on immigration do not apply to adjustments under the CAA, it is not necessary for the individual to be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition. Additionally, a Cuban native or citizen who arrives at a place other than an open port-of-entry may still be eligible for a green card if USCIS has paroled the individual into the United States.

Application Process

To obtain a green card (permanent residence) under the Cuban Adjustment Act, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Eligibility Criteria

Cuban natives or citizens can apply for a green card while in the United States if they have been present in the United States for at least 1 year, have been admitted or paroled and are admissible as immigrants.

The following inadmissibility grounds do not apply to individuals filing for benefits under the CAA:

  • Public charge
  • Arriving at a place other than an open port of entry provided USCIS paroled the individual into the United States 

If the individual is inadmissible on any other ground(s), he or she is not eligible to apply for a green card under the CAA unless he or she has obtained a waiver of inadmissibility.

Family Member of Cuban Native or Citizen Applying Under the CAA

The spouse and child(ren) of an individual applying for a green card under the CAA may also apply for benefits under the CAA regardless of their country of citizenship or place of birth, if:

  • The relationship continues to exist until the dependent spouse or child receives a green card
  • They are residing with the individual applying for a green card under the CAA in the United States
  • They apply for a green card under the Cuban Adjustment Act
  • They are eligible to receive an immigrant visa
  • They are otherwise admissible to the United States for such permanent residence

Note: A child is defined as being unmarried and not having reached the age of 21 years old.  Step-children, adopted children, and children born out of wedlock may qualify as a child for purposes of CAA adjustment if the claimed parent-child relationship meets the requirements specified in Section 101(b)(1) of the INA.

Supporting Evidence for the Form I-485

You should submit the following evidence with your Form I-485:

  • Two passport-style photos
  • Copy of birth certificate (or other birth record with translation, if available) 
  • Applicable fees
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information, if you are between 14 and 79 years of age
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record (or other evidence of inspection and admission or parole into the United States)
  • Evidence of 1 year’s physical presence in the United States

How quickly can I file?

You can file under the Cuban Adjustment Act one year and 1 day after you have been paroled or admitted to the United States.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/22/2011